Dylan Wilkerson has played two World Series of Poker Circuit events this year and he’s had a stellar showing in both.
At the end of February, Wilkerson finished 11th in the WSOPC main event at the Rio and took home $20,908. Just a few weeks later, Wilkerson improved on his performance and won the main event at the Bicycle Hotel and Casino in Los Angeles. He topped a 705-entry field to win $216,790 and his first circuit ring.
“Winning always feels great,” he said after his win. “Regardless of how big. And this was pretty big. So yeah, it’s really good.”
Coming into the final day, Wilkerson was one of the shorter stacks, but he wasn’t thinking about any missed opportunities in Las Vegas. “Honestly, Rio hadn’t crossed my mind,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to finish this one off, but the cliché is ‘Just take it one hand at a time.’ And that’s basically what I was doing. I was just trying to play my best here.”
The prize pool was $1,059,000 and the top 72 players cashed.
Here are the undercard winners: Fredrick Arni (Event 1, $365 Monster Stack, $87,010); William Wolf (Event 2, $365 NLHE, $10,665); Danny Illingworth (Event 3, $580 NLHE, $16,495); Joseph Hoffman (Event 4, $365 Omaha/8, $10,330); Albert Ng (Event 5, $365 NLHE, $15,585); Neil Ho (Event 6, six-max, $16,345); Joe Marcal (Event 7, $365 NLHE, $14,275); Gal Yifrach (Event 9, $3,250 High Roller, $90,005); Mike Leah (Event 10, $1,125 Bounty, $12,450); Dave Banerjee (Event 11, $365 NLHE, $12,320) and Valentin Vornicu (Event 12, $365 Turbo, $13,675).
GARDENS CASINO: The WPT500 is coming to the Hawaiian Gardens property, which recently completed a $90M renovation. The construction included a 200,000-square-foot venue housing 100 tables, which brings the total capacity to more than 300 tables.
This tournament series, the Gardens Poker Festival, runs May 15-31 and will include 16 events with $110-$1,100 buy-ins. The $565 main event will have 14 Day 1 flights and a $1M guarantee.The final table will be live-streamed May 31.
Several of the events will include an action clock and will have a $10K guarantee.
Also, Event 15 ($1,100 six-max deepstack turbo) is May 30. For more info, go to thegardenscasino.com.
PALA CASINO SPA AND RESORT: Chipleader Steven Firestone of San Diego won $4,714 and the Quantum Reload title after a four-way chop in mid March. Santos Messina of Vista was second ($3,206), while Mahood Mahdui of La Jolla was third ($3,040) and Peter Nguyen of San Marcos was fourth ($2,952). The prize pool was $24K as more than 140 players entered.
The World Poker Tour made two stops in Northern California during March with the Bay 101 Shooting Star at Bay 101 in San Jose and the Rolling Thunder at Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln.
The $7,500 main event of the WPT Shooting Star had 806 entries. Sam Panzica racked up his second WPT title and whopping $1.37M first prize by beating Anthony Spinella, who earned $786K. Other final-table finishes were Chino Rheem (third, $521K), Paul Volpe (fourth, $349K), Dennis Stevermer (fifth, $243K) and Rainer Kempe (sixth, $188K).
The $3,500 WPT Rolling Thunder main event had 421 entries. This field is getting tougher each year and the final table ended up being stacked with talent. Michael Del Vecchio won his first WPT title and took home $284K. He outlasted a difficult final table, including Sorel Mizzi (second, $190K), Steve Tabb (third, $122K), John Hadley (fourth, $81K), Olivier Busquet (fifth, $63K) and Connor Drinan (sixth, $52K).
Thunder Valley hosts a series of WSOP satellites this month, culminating in a three-seat guarantee to the $10K main event. See the ad on Pages 18-19 of our May issue for all of the details.
OAKS CARD CLUB: The Emeryville property will host six events in its WSOP Direct Qualifying Series from May 7-28. The first satellite will be a $235 Monster Stack on May 7 with re-entries available. On May 13, there’s a $130 limit event with rebuys and May 20 will be a $130 Omaha/8 rebuy. There will be a $25K freeroll on May 21. The final weekend will host two events, a $130 stud rebuy (May 27) and a $235 NLHE re-entry (May 28).
TURLOCK POKER ROOM: The WPTDeepstack Series runs May 12-15. The $1,100 main event will have a $100K guarantee. Last year’s winner of this event was Steve Tada, who took home $36K. Turlock also has multiple progressive bad-beat jackpots running with the prizes increasing $200 a day. These jackpots pay the losing hand, winning hand and have a table share.
STONES GAMBLING HALL: In Citrus Heights, the poker room hosts the Western Senior Poker Series on May 7. This event is a $175 event that brings seniors from all over the area. The room also hosts the Six Shooter Tournament on May 12 for $200 with a massive $100K guarantee.
LUCKY CHANCES: The Colma poker room is planning a fine Memorial Day Weekend with two events on May 28-29. May 28 is a $350 event with a first prize of $20K. There will be a $120 event May 29 with a first-place prize of $4K.
ATLANTIS CASINO RESORT SPA: Rommel Santos defeated a field of 233 players to capture the WPTDeepStacks Reno Main Event. Santos won $51,085, a $3K championship package and the trophy after dominating the final table in about three hours. He won his seat into this event from a $250 satellite.
“I’m just overjoyed,” he said. “It’s my very first time winning the WPT. I’m proud of myself. I did play with some good players today, so I was fortunate to catch some good cards.” Shawn Van Asdale finished second ($35,870) and Tim Armour came in third ($23,065).
PEPPERMILL CASINO: Jason Somerville’s Run It Up ran in early April with Reno’s Tim Tucker taking the trophy in the main event after a five-way chop. Tucker, Joe Wegner and Keith Finkelstein each pocketed $23K while Adam Haman earned $22,682 and Somerville was fifth ($19,313).
ELDORADO RESORT AND CASINO: The property plans to move to a new poker room next door at Silver Legacy.
NUGGET: Swipe your card at the kiosk for a chance to receive $1-$5 comps per at the poker room. This daily multiplier promotion is based on level of play.
GRAND SIERRA: Players have raved about the remodeled buffet next door. The poker room has high-hand promotions for quads and straight flushes that increase to $599. The room also pays $2 an hour in comps.
MUCKLESHOOT CASINO: The Auburn, Wash., room’s $55K-added Spring Classic, which ran March 15-20, was a huge success with four of the five events selling out at 280 players each.
The $250 Shootout (Event 1) chopped four ways with Aaron Pardee (Marysville, Wash.), Jin Liu (Seattle), Ken Hennum (Burien, Wash.) and Ken Burnsed (Covington, Wash.), each getting $7K.Dan Barker (Poulsbo, Wash.) got the biggest share of another four-way chop in Event 2 for $8K.Thomas Chikamura (Renton, Wash.) won Event 3 for a negotiated $18K and Allen Oh (Portland) won Event 4 for $26K.
Mahesh Pritamani captured the $750 two-day main event, which had a record field, for a staggering $57K, his first tournament win recorded on HendonMob.com.
In addition to winning the third event, Chikamura took seventh in the main to win overall Classic Championship for $6K.
On Fridays and Saturdays, Omaha players vie for three $100 high hands every hour from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., plus a $20K bad-beat jackpot (quad 10s). In a new promotion, Sunday tournament winners get a free entry into a December Tournament of Champions with the rest of the 250-player field filled by players who pay $250 and who qualify by being the top point-earners who didn’t win one of the tournaments.
PORTLAND POKER CHAMPIONSHIP: In Oregon, Portland Meadows and the Final Table Poker Club hosted the four-event series March 3-11 with $90-$160 buy-ins and guaranteed prize pools of $20K and $30K.
The overall tournament series championship went to Darrell Plant of Portland, racking up his points by taking 24th and 11th in the two events with the most entrants.
Portland Meadows (22 tables) and the Final Table Poker Club (15 tables) are operated as poker clubs, no fees for tournaments, no rake for cash games, no salaries for dealers. A $15 membership fee gets you all the play you want for one day.
See Ante Up’s September 2016 issue for a story on Portland clubs’ legal issues.
RIVER ROCK CASINO: The May Showdown at the Rock runs May 24-28 in Vancouver. There’s a $230 event May 24, a $345 bounty tourney May 25 and the $575 main event has a pair of Day 1s (May 26-27) with Day 2 on May 28.Fields will be limited to 100 players per day, so get your reservations in early if you’re going.
PLANET HOLLYWOOD: The Goliath series May 25-July 13, and is offering $7.5M-plus in guarantees. The series starts with the Ultimate Goliath Stack, a $600, five-day tournament that has a $250K guarantee. The Goliath Milly has a $1M guarantee for the same buy-in.The first of its four starting flights is June 4.
Many of the weekend days feature the $50K in a Day tournament, offering a $50K guarantee for a one-day, $250 buy-in. There are also a number of $20K in a Day $200 events with a $20K guarantee.
July 2 is the start of a $250 Low Roller.It has five starting flights and a $250K guarantee. A two-day PLO High Roller starts July 6 and has a $5K buy-in.
The main event has five starting flights starting June 27.The buy-in is $2K and the guarantee is $2M. The Grand Finale has a $1,650 buy-in and a $1M guarantee.The first of its three starting flights is July 9.
There are also numerous Omaha, HORSE, Triple Draw and Dealer’s Choice events throughout the series.
The main event of the Goliath Warm-Up series ended in a three-way chop in April. Tuan Mai, Daniel Engels and Sinisa Zimek took home $84K each. The $1,650 buy-in event had 340-plus entrants and a $530K prize pool.
GOLDEN NUGGET: The Grand Poker Series runs May 30-July 3.It features a few multi-flight events with affordable buy-ins and big guarantees. The first one starts June 2 and has six starting flights over two days. The $150 buy-in has a $100K guarantee. The identical tournament runs again June 23.A $200 buy-in version begins June 8. It has nine starting flights over three days and has a $200K guarantee.
Most days start at 11 a.m. with a non-hold’em event, most with a $250 buy-in. Those usually are followed at 1 p.m. by a $150 tournament with a $20K guarantee.
Oklahoma Johnny Hale hosts Seniors Week starting June 15 with the $360 Seniors Championship. See the ad on Page 21 of our May issue for details.
A $250 tournament runs June 17. The $1K High Roller is June 18. The Super Seniors (for those 60-plus) is $250 and runs June 19. The $250 Seniors Choice event runs June 20.
A $570 PLO Championship is June 21 and a $570 mixed PLO/8-Omaha/8-Big O tourney is June 27.
The $570 main event has three starting flights beginning June 29 and has a $500K guarantee. The series has $1.4M-plus in guarantees.
ARIA: The Aria Poker Classic is June 2-July 9.The highlight is the WPT500.That event has nine starting flights, beginning June 26.The first seven starting flights have 30- and 40-minute levels.
The final two starting flights are July 3 and are turbos with 20-minute levels.Players can enter multiple flights and take their best stack forward to Day 2.The buy-in is $565 and the guarantee is $1M.
The Classic also offers a two-day, $1K event June 23.There are two $465 senior events (June 15 and June 19). There are PLO events on June 8 and June 12. HORSE runs June 6. PLO/8 is June 22 and a Triple Draw Mix, featuring deuce-to-seven, ace-to-five and badugi, runs July 5. Omaha/8 is June 25.All of these events have $465 buy-ins.
Most days offer a $400 tournament and most evenings run a $240 tournament.
WYNN: The Wynn Summer Classic will be June 2-July 16.The series starts with a $400 Survivor event June 2. The top 14.5 percent of the field will get $5K and the guarantee is $50K.On June 7, a $400 PLO event will have a $50K guarantee. A $600 seniors event with a $100K guarantee runs June 12.
The first multi-starting flight event begins June 14 with a $1,100 tournament.It has four starting flights and a $1M guarantee.A $600 tourney with two starting flights is June 27 and has a $250K guarantee.
Two-day $1,100 tournaments run June 24, July 13 and July 16 with $200K guarantees.
The rest of the schedule is filled with one- or two-day hold’em events with $400 or $550 buy-ins and guarantees of $50K and $100K, respectively.
The $1,600 championship, which has a $1M guarantee, has three starting flights July 4-6.
Wynn is offering $4M-plus in guarantees for the series.
BINION’S: This year, the summer series is called Binion’s Dog Days of Summer Poker Jam. For those of you who prefer disciplines other than NLHE, this is the series for you.
HORSE is featured June 5 and July 1.Omaha/8 is June 6. On June 8, it’s PLO/8.June 9 will be a stud event.An Omaha/8-stud/8 event runs June 10. Razz will be June 13, followed by stud/8 on June 14. Two PLO events are June 17 and June 30. Triple Stud runs June 24. All of these events have $365 buy-ins and $20K guarantees. There’s also a $475 razz event June 23 and a $475 Omaha/8 tourney July 3.Both of these have $30K guarantees.
A $585 PLO Championship with a $50K guarantee has two starting flights June 15. The $585 HORSE Championship has a $50K guarantee and the first of its two starting flights begins June 20.
There’s still plenty of NLHE, too.Most are $365 with a $20K guarantee, with a few $475 buy-ins with a $30K guarantee mixed in.
The series offers three WSOP main-event qualifiers. These run June 19, June 28 and July 4. The buy-in is $365 and one $10K main event seat is guaranteed in each.
The NLHE Championship has three starting flights beginning June 25.It has a $850 buy-in and offers a $200K guarantee.
SOUTH POINT HOTEL AND CASINO: The poker room’s $175K hold’em freeroll is June 12-14 at 6 p.m. with the finals running on June 17 at 10 a.m.
Players can qualify with 100 hours of live play by May 31. All qualifiers receive $100 and 10K in chips for the freeroll. First place pays $35K, second place is $15K and third is $10K.
The tournament is limited to 20 qualifiers each night. See the ad on Page 17 of our May issue for more details.
— Check out Rob Solomon’s blog at robvegaspoker.blogspot.com.
Meet Ed “Bigfoot” Johnson
Ed Johnson wears a shirt that reads, “Great dads get promoted to grandpas.” As a dedicated family man, he still finds time to play poker.
Why do you like to play at the Eldorado Casino in Reno? The dealers and staff are top-notch. I enjoy playing $3-$6 limit. I love the blind structure, fair rake, no kill and there’s plenty of action.They have high hands and a Monte Carlo promotion. The staff makes us feel comfortable by remembering our names. The dealers, managers and players are personable and extremely friendly. There’s free parking and easy access.There are lots of good places to eat nearby, especially the Pearl Oyster Bar and Grill.
How did you start playing poker? I’ve enjoyed poker since I was a kid and played acey-deucey in family games. I played a few times in my mid-20s at a local tavern but never had any success to speak of.I didn’t know about hold’em until I met my wife, Diana, in 1995.She taught me how to play hold’em; her family introduced me to Omaha and we went on a couple of poker cruises.I saw it as an opportunity in 2005 when I retired to play hold’em tournaments and cash games. Today, I can play eight hours straight but Diana can outlast me and play 10-plus hours a session.
Hobbies? I love camping, fishing, fantasy sports and watching movies. Of course, my favorite hobby is spending time with my wife and playing poker with her.
— Philip Chow